Just one day before kicking off HP Discover 2013 in Barcelona -- being held Dec. 10-12 -- Hewlett-Packard today announced its Channel First Initiative and its ConvergedSystem portfolio consisting of four purpose-built products that are optimized for the channel out of the gate.
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The four new pre-configured workload-optimized systems include two HP ConvergedSystems for Virtualization, the HP CovergedSystem 300 and the HP ConvergedSystem 700; HP ConvergedSystem for Hosted Desktops; and HP ConvergedSystem for Vertica.
The converged systems portfolio was engineered from the ground up to help companies deliver their required business applications faster; to make the devices easy to buy, manage and support; and to eliminate the increasing complexity of today's data center, according to Frances Guida, HP's manager of cloud solutions and infrastructure.
In fact, according to the HP executive, the new converged systems can be delivered (from order to operation) in as few as 20 days, compared with a more traditional process, which can take three to six months.
The introduction of the ConvergedSystem portfolio represents a healthy opportunity for HP channel partners, according to Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for HP's PartnerOne strategy. "We want to enable our channel partners to be in on every deal that HP sells for all of the systems," he said.
The Channel First Initiative is HP's promise to lead with partners in virtually every deal, according to Eitenbichler. "This initiative reinforces HP's mindset that when we announce products and solutions going forward (including the just-announced ConvergedSystem portfolio) they're optimized for the channel out of the gate," he said.
While HP is talking about the Channel First Initiative today, there will be more details forthcoming as to what that promise contains over the coming weeks and next couple of months.
In the meantime, the vendor has laid out some steps it has taken to enable this partner initiative across the ConvergedSystem portfolio, such as making sure that partners are trained when the products launch; that partners are able to offer consulting and support services to accelerate their margin and enhance their profitability; and that PartnerOne is ready to support the solutions out of the gate.
That said, Guida targeted the two new HP converged systems for virtualization -- the 300 and 700 -- as the most interesting opportunity for partners. "We've characterized what a partner needs to deliver a virtualized environment; what the modular capacity will be, i.e. server, storage, networking -- meaning they choose the capacity, anywhere from 50 to 1,000 VMs, and we'll help build the right system without having to worry about all of the underlying components," she said.
The company also simplified how partners engage with HP to order the systems and condensed the time it takes to go from ordering the system to making it operational within a customer's environment.
HP also reduced the number of steps required to generate a quote for a system to as few as five clicks and streamlined how HP does the testing with integration, as well as how HP or a certified channel partner installs the system and gets it up and running.
"We're taking a significant amount of work out of the equation for partners. They can rely on us," Guida said. Partners can focus their conversations on the value-add they bring: for example, knowledge of a particular industry solution, she added.
The HP ConvergedSystem for Hosted Desktops and HP ConvergedSystem for Vertica can also be sold by channel partners. The HP ConvergedSystem for Hosted Desktops is a suitable sale for partners who focus on verticals such as education and finance or for midsize businesses looking for such a solution, Guida suggested.
In the more complex big data space, HP PartnerOne Vertica specialized partners at the Gold and Silver levels are most ideal to sell the HP ConvergedSystem for Vertica, although Platinum-level partners can sell the solution, according to Eitenbichler.
The HP ConvergedSystems for Virtualization and HP ConvergedSystem for Hosted Desktop are available today. The HP ConvergedSystem for Vertica will be available by April 2014, according to HP.